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How will Mike D’Antoni mesh with the Lakers?
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On November 12, 2012 @ 6:00 am In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
Mike D’Antoni is not Phil Jackson. That is to say, D’Antoni does not have 12 championship rings, five with the Los Angeles Lakers.
But D’Antoni is the new Lakers coach, and he agreed to a four-year contract to take over Sunday, replacing Mike Brown, who was fired Friday.
The 61-year-old has won 53.4% of his games as an NBA head coach, with the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks. He’s taken five of the seven teams he coached for a full season to the playoffs. He reached the Western Conference finals in 2005 and 2006 with the Suns.
Those Suns teams were defined by D’Antoni’s seven-seconds-or-less offense, reliant on quick decision-making, pick-and-rolls and the ability to drain open jump shots. Those Suns teams were among the most efficient and fastest-paced offenses the NBA has ever seen, and they won, taking 70.7% of their games from 2004-05 through 2007-08.
D’Antoni can coach. But can he coach these Lakers? Let’s break down how each key player will fit in his system:
Steve Nash: This is the easy one. Nash won two MVPs in D’Antoni’s system for the Suns. He executed the pick-and-roll better than anyone ever has, showcasing his elite shooting and passing while steering the offense. Nash is out for now, sitting with a break in a small bone in his leg. When he returns, the Lakers will need to monitor that leg and his minutes. But he knows the system and can help D’Antoni teach it and execute it.
Kobe Bryant: D’Antoni routinely turned mediocre shooting guards such as Quentin Richardson, Raja Bell and Leandro Barbosa into scoring machines by opening them up for three-pointers. But Bryant is too good to turn into a spot shooter. He’s the Lakers’ best offensive weapon, and he has shown the past two years that his game has evolved and improved in many ways. D’Antoni knows this and wouldn’t have been offered the job if his goal was to turn Bryant into Bell. He was burned often enough by Bryant to recognize his deep arsenal of moves. Expect Bryant to key the pick-and-rolls and run the offense more … [For more on How will Mike D'Antoni mesh with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Lakers?, click here.]
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